Tag Archives: liquid smoke

The Campbell’s Bean with Bacon Soup Experiment

19 Feb
Campbell's Bean with Bacon Soup Experiment

Campbell’s Bean with Bacon Soup Experiment

Hey wait a minute! Don’t click away just yet! I know the word Campbell’s and Experiment in the same line might lead you to run away in culinary terror, but this was a mission. A mission to replicate this red and white childhood favorite can of good ole’ American soup without all the nasties in it. Well, as many as I possibly could without compromising the original goal. I kind of crack myself up, as the tomato soup’s goal last week was to NOT taste like the canned version. No wonder my husband never understands me.

If you look up recipes for “copycat” Campbell’s bean with bacon soup, you will find in the recipe comments that many readers say it didn’t taste anything like the soup in the can. Then if you look at the ingredients they used, then the ingredients on the can, it’s no wonder.

Campbell's Bean with Bacon Soup Ingredients

Campbell’s Bean with Bacon Soup Ingredients

I printed out the ingredients label and studied it to come up with a reasonable facsimile. Besides water, pea beans is the first ingredient. According to Wikipidia: “in the USA the name ‘pea bean’ is also used to describe small white common beans.” Well the beans from my local bulk food store section seemed to fit this perfectly, as the name on the bin was “small white beans.”

Tomato puree was a no-brainer, I used tomato paste and water. Bacon and carrots? Yep, I can do that. I skipped over all the unknown and nasty stuff, and then saw dehydrated onions. I had a whole spice jar of those! Most other recipes used fresh onion, in addition to celery and garlic. As much as I wanted to use all of those, I had to stick to my guns on this one.

Another thing unique to the canned variety is that the carrots and bacon are just wee bits in the soup, not huge chunks.

campbellscondensed-bean-with-bacon1

With that in mind, I pulsed both the carrots

Minced Carrots

Minced Carrots

and bacon into minced bits in my Ninja processor before cooking together. I didn’t bother rinsing the Ninja before adding the bacon.

Minced Bacon

Minced Bacon

Sugar is also mentioned twice, so decided to some add brown sugar too, but not too much.

My last dilemma was yeast extract (Marmite anyone?) and natural smoke flavoring. A bit of googling told me that soy sauce has the same umami and flavor profile as yeast extract. My bottle of liquid smoke wasn’t as “natural” in ingredients as I would have desired, but it was Stubb’s so I gave myself a pass on that. I left those out until all the other ingredients had a chance to meld in the slow cooker all day, then would do a taste test. Plus bacon has a smoky flavor, and I used ham stock instead of water, which also has a smoky flavoring. Time would tell.

The Results? Drum roll please…

Close — VERY close! The texture was not quite right as I should have removed some beans before pureeing the soup, but I was so excited to use my new immersion blender that I totally bypassed that step.

But when you crunchle in a bunch of saltine crackers, the texture doesn’t matter much at that point because the soup is Mmm, Mmm, Good!

Campbell’s Bean with Bacon Soup Experiment

1 pound small dried white beans, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained
1 cup finely minced carrots
6 slices bacon, finely minced
2 tablespoons dehydrated minced onion
3 tablespoons tomato paste plus one cup water
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
4 cups homemade ham stock, or water
Low-sodium soy sauce, to taste
Stubb’s liquid smoke (or other brand), to taste

Cook the minced carrots and bacon together in a skillet over medium heat until the bacon starts to crisp, about 15 minutes. It kind of freaked me out because the bacon fat never really released, did the carrots soak it up? At this point add the minced onion then cook for a few more minutes, stirring.

Dehydrated Onion Added to Mixture

Dehydrated Onion Added to Mixture

Once the onions look fairly hydrated, add the tomato paste and water, plus the brown sugar and stir to combine.

Tomato Paste Added

Tomato Paste Added

Pour the mixture (which vaguely resembles baby food) into a large slow cooker, then add the ham stock or water, and beans. Stir to combine then cover and cook on low 8 to 10 hours, or high on 4 to 6 hours until the beans are tender. Add additional water as needed. At this point the bacon grease did release, which I removed from the top. It was only about 2 tablespoons.

Soup Before Pureeing

Soup Before Pureeing

Using an immersion blender, puree about half the soup. You can also do this in batches in a blender.  For a really smooth consistency for the base, remove some of the beans before pureeing, then add them back in.

At this point I did a taste test. It still needed some smoky flavoring, so alternated a few dashes at a time between soy sauce and liquid smoke. I stirred and tasted, ate a saltine cracker in between, until I found the right balance. Use caution with liquid smoke, as it is very strong. I might have added one drop too much.

Serve hot in bowls, with lots of saltine crackers on the side. I assembled a quick Caesar salad on the side since this was our dinner. If anyone makes this, please let me know what you think. Did this even come close to your expectations?

Campbell's Bean with Bacon Soup Experiment

Campbell’s Bean with Bacon Soup Experiment

 

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

Quick and Easy Ham and White Bean Soup

23 Apr
Quick and Easy Ham and White Bean Soup

Quick and Easy Ham and White Bean Soup

Spring has been on a springboard in my neck of the woods in terms of temperature. While it is now seasonably cool, we had a great stretch of really warm and sunny weather for the last week. With cooler weather, there is nothing better than a hot bowl of comforting soup. And with leftover ham and ham broth in the freezer, this meal was a snap!

After I took my photos, hubs and I both decided we wanted it creamier so I processed half of it in my Ninja then stirred it back in. This step is optional, and I didn’t even take another photo of it creamy that way as I can be lazy that way. Just like you can be lazy in making this soup as it’s that easy!

Quick and Easy Ham and White Bean Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup each chopped onion, celery, and carrots
4 ounces chopped ham
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups ham broth (you can sub in chicken or veggie broth)
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed rosemary
Small sprig of thyme
Ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon Liquid Smoke (I used Stubb’s Hickory)
1/8 teaspoon smoked Paprika

The Holy Trinity

The Holy Trinity

Saute the veggies in the oil until soft, 5 to 7 minutes.

Ham, Veggies, and Spices

Ham, Veggies, and Spices

Add the ham, garlic and spices and cook 2 to 3 minutes more.

Ham Broth and Beans

Ham Broth and Beans

Pour in the ham broth and beans. Add the rest of the seasonings, and taste to adjust.

Simmering the Ham and Bean Soup

Simmering the Ham and Bean Soup

Simmer for about a half hour or more until ready to eat. Optional: Puree half the soup in a blender or processor and stir back in before serving.

Ta-Dah!

Quick and Easy Ham and White Bean Soup

Quick and Easy Ham and White Bean Soup

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Seared/Baked Meatballs with Brown Gravy and Pasta

13 Apr
Seared Baked Meatballs with Brown Gravy and Pasta

Seared/Baked Meatballs with Brown Gravy and Pasta

I saw this recipe just a couple of days ago that Pioneer Woman posted, and just drooled. I said right then and there, “I am SO making this!” The other great thing is if you go to her website and pin her post on Pinterest, Land O’ Lakes will donate 9 meals to Feeding America®, up to 2.7 million meals! I’ll give you the link down below.

My hubs helped with some of the prep, which was nice, but really there is not a lot to this. I adapted the recipe by halving it for our smaller family, and by baking the meatballs after browning them, not only because I’m terrible meatball maker, apparently, but because they were falling apart in the skillet. So what I did was after they were mostly browned on the outside, I took them out of the skillet to cool a bit, preheated the oven to 400 degrees, compacted them back into sort of round, then baked them for 15 minutes.

Meatballs and Seasonings

Meatballs and Seasonings

The plus about doing it that way is that you won’t have all that extra grease in the pan. I also omitted the beef bouillon and salt. Believe me there is enough flavor and salt in the rest of the ingredients that you will not miss it at all!

Changes I will make next time: I would use 2 1/2 cups of beef broth total. Hubby said he would have liked more gravy with it. Second would be to use flour instead of corn starch. Even though the gravy was “glossy” like the original recipe said it would be, I think the flour would make it all stick to the noodles better.

Even so, the fam ate it up and I’m good with that. The hubs called it a “glorified hamburger over noodles.” LOL! He said he would eat it again with those additional changes, though. Although the Pioneer Woman called this Salisbury Steak Meatballs, I didn’t find it to taste anything like that. Yep, a glorified hamburger. But if you want a fairly simple recipe to feed the family with ground beef and pasta, this is a great change of pace. 🙂

Seared/Baked Meatballs with Brown Gravy and Pasta
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman, Salisbury Steak Meatballs

SPECIAL NOTE: To help donate 9 meals to the hungry, click the following link and pin on Pinterest! http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2014/04/salisbury-steak-meatballs. Thank You!

1 pound ground beef
3/8 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/8 cup spicy brown mustard
1/8 cup ketchup
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Table Blend (or salt)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper (or to taste)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/2 large onion, sliced
1 tablespoon corn starch (or flour) mixed with 1/2 cup beef broth
1 1/2 to 2 cups homemade or low-sodium beef broth, divided
1/2 teaspoon additional Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons additional ketchup
1/4 teaspoon Liquid Smoke (I used Stubb’s)
8 ounces wide egg noodles
Dried minced parsley

In a medium bowl, combine the first seven ingredients and mix well with clean hands. Roll and compact into meatballs. I didn’t do such a great job of compacting them, maybe you are better. Add 1 tablespoon of butter to a large skillet, then sear over medium-high heat on all sides until browned. Remove to a plate to cool and meanwhile preheat your oven to 400 degrees. This is also a good time to put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta.

Seared Meatballs

Seared Meatballs

Add one more tablespoon of butter to the skillet (with all the leftover browned burger bits) and add in the onions. Reduce heat to medium and saute them for about 10 minutes until fairly soft. While the onions are cooking, you can re-compact your meatballs up and place on a parchment or foil-lined pan in one layer and cook in oven for 15 minutes.

Baked Meatballs

Baked Meatballs

Remove and set aside if your timing is off, like mine was. It’s choreography, I tell you!

Cooking the Onions with Browned Bits

Cooking the Onions with Browned Bits

Once the onions are softened, add the cornstarch or flour slurry to the skillet, scraping up all the yummy browned bits. Then add the rest of the beef broth, the additional Worcestershire and ketchup and the Liquid Smoke, then mix well, bringing up to a simmer (lower heat once it does).

Onions and Gravy

Onions and Gravy

Now add your pasta to the boiling water. Cook pasta until al dente, drain, and pour onto a large plate or in bowl. The onions and  gravy should be nice and done now, so pour the mixture over the pasta, top with the meatballs, sprinkle some parsley over it, scoop into bowls, and chow down. Serve if you like with a side salad, French bread, and fruit.

Seared Baked Meatballs with Brown Gravy and Pasta 2

Seared/Baked Meatballs with Brown Gravy and Pasta

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

Oven-Baked Texas Beef Brisket

17 Jun
Carved Texas Beef Brisket

Carved Texas Beef Brisket

First, I want to wish all the Fathers out there a Happy Father’s Day! This will be a quick post because I have a houseful of people coming over for a Fajita Bar to celebrate this special day. I’ve been a cooking fool the past couple of days. Last night we had good old-fashioned oven-baked Texas Beef Brisket. I used Lisa Fain’s recipe from The Homesick Texan cookbook, which is absolutely one of my favorite cookbooks. This came out so delicious and tender…and very spicy! I either ended up with some super hot jalapeños, or I might need to cut down on the cayenne next time. I don’t mind the spicy but my family thought it was a tad too hot for their taste buds. The only adaptation I made to this recipe was to substitute one tablespoon of the salt with one tablespoon of Mrs. Dash Original Blend. I figured the rub had to at least have some salt in it to work.

Texas Beef Brisket Rub

Texas Beef Brisket Rub

Click here for the recipe: Oven-Baked Texas Beef Brisket

Beef Brisket Out of Oven

Beef Brisket Out of Oven

Coke Ribs in a Crock Pot

31 Mar
Coke Ribs in a Crock Pot

Coke Ribs in a Crock Pot

I’ve had many friends boast how good ribs can be made with Dr. Pepper. But the simple fact is I can not stand Dr. Pepper. That and root beer. They tell me you cannot taste the drink after it cooks, but I am not willing to test that theory in my kitchen.  So today when I was going through the freezer to figure out what to make for dinner,  the last of our country style boneless pork ribs spoke to me. “Make me in the crock pot today with that Dr. Pepper recipe.” What??? Of course my mind immediately translated that to “Make me with Coke instead and see how that turns out.” So that is what I concocted today.  I never saved any of my friend’s recipes since I thought I’d never try it, so I cobbled together several variations of the recipe I found online, solely based on what ingredients I had in the house.  The final result was melt-in-your-mouth pieces of meat in a savory barbecue sauce. And no, I could not taste the Coke!

Coke Ribs

2 tablespoons Liquid Smoke
1/4 cup brown sugar
Black pepper, to taste
1 cup of Coke (I drank the rest)
1 cup of barbecue sauce, any kind
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 pounds boneless pork ribs

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients except the pork and onion.  Add the pork to the bowl and toss them to coat. Add the chopped onion to the bottom of the crock pot. Place the pork on top of the onions, then pour the rest of the marinade over it. Cook on high for three hours, then low for another few hours.

P.S. I wanted to show off some of my new dishware, so I took a couple of pieces of meat and put them in a bowl with the sauce. The sauce came out a little too watery for my liking, but we were hungry and just ate it as is. Tomorrow I plan on shredding the pork, then reducing the sauce down on the stove top for pulled pork sammiches. Yumm! I’m also sure this would go great with beef ribs too.

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